Not Just For Boats

Winter tips for your trailer

Published in the October 2011 Issue Published online: Oct 09, 2011 News
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A perfect boat is no good if it's on a bad trailer. These four tips for offseason care, courtesy of Boat U.S., will help make your trailer last and get your boat back in the water as soon as the new boating season begins.

TREES - Trees are trouble, so avoid them. Snow, ice, and limbs can cause damage, and leaves and pine needles can cause staining and clog up drain holes.

TILT - Tilt the bow up and let gravity work for you. Place a small block under the trailer jack and tie the drain plug to your ignition key. Also, make sure the boat's cover is tight and keeping out the water.

TLC - Take care of the trailer. Stay on top of little things to prevent major problems later. Spray a good lubricant on metal trailer roller assemblies, winch gears, and electrical connections to prevent rust. Sand, prime, and paint any rust spots now on the (galvanized) metal trailer frame.

TIRES - Take them off; trailers don't need tires in the winter. Remove the tires to deter theft, and store them in the garage or shed to avoid sun damage. With the tires off, check and repack the bearings as needed. Block the frame and tie sturdy plastic bags over the hubs and brakes to keep them dry. If you will not be removing the tires, be sure to face the trailer away from the street and use a heavy-duty lock. Why tempt thieves with easy access to an expensive boat?

Cover the tires with bags and make sure they are resting on a piece of plywood or plank to prevent dry rot. To avoid flat spots on the tires, move the trailer periodically a few inches throughout the winter.

Following these tips will help you be one of the first boaters underway when the weather warms up, and you'll be starting an extended boating season while other boaters are still stuck in their driveways waiting for expensive trailer repairs.

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